Restarting legal immigration after the pandemic.
I’ve always though we should have open borders with the UK. Or at least reciprocal work and live privileges. I suspect both countries would benefit. Both counties could still have controls at the borders for security, but otherwise let there be free movement.
Congress as admissions committee - trying to curate and shape this year's matriculating class. Make sure it has the right mix of diversity, legacies, merit, ability to pay, etc.
As an example of an unintended consequence, if Canadians were allowed to live and work freely in the US, we wouldn't have gotten the delightful 2009 romcom The Proposal starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock with the latter as the undocumented Canadian immigrant (kind of ironic since it's Reynolds who was *actually* born in Canada).
I went to a science fair a few years ago, and it was really striking how many of the kids presenting were children of immigrants. It makes perfect sense to make it as easy as possible to get these visas.
Blue collar and service wages are increasing for the first time in a generation. Yet many American workers are still far from a living wage. I see signs at Georgia Krogers advertising $12/hr. Gas station in Maine were advertising $13.50/hr. Employers obviously think these are “good” wages because they are advertising them openly. Yet I have no idea how someone making $13.50 an hour in Bangor can pay for an apartment and still have enough money to heat it.
A true populist would not panic at the first signs of inflation or restaurants being short staffed. He would permit there to be a shake out in the restaurant industry where places that figure out how to pay a living wage survive and places whose business models require worker exploitation close.
We’ve had abundant labor and stagnant working class wages for 35 years. It has wrought carnage throughout the American working class: men who cannot provide for families, women who cannot find marriageable men, children born out of wedlock, opiate addiction and deaths of despair. Life expectancies were decreasing before COVID. Let’s give scarcity a chance. If a significant number of American manufacturers start going bankrupt because labor is too expensive, the case for increased immigration would become strong. Until then, increasing working class wages is a political and moral imperative.
"...a member like Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) will write a bill that sounds good to me."
Insert Onion's "Worse Person You Know Just Made a Great Point" meme.
Do you have a new editorial assistant? Today's column was uncommonly well written, just at the level of prose. Sentences ran smoothly. I did not notice typos. (Though perhaps other readers did). Anyhow -- it's nice when your columns are properly proofed.
How can we (realistically) get more skilled immigrants into the US? I think the most realistic path is just lengthening OPT visas for STEM grads of US colleges. Every time you suggest importing current working professionals, like software engineers, existing domestic groups are opposed to the competition- I've even seen people express that sentiment here on SB. Whereas, a brand new Master's or PhD grad doesn't have many job skills yet, so it seems like an easier/more realistic way to get smart folks in. Lengthen the OPT period to 5 or 10 years, and maybe provide a path to a Green Card directly from there.
My further out there idea is that the federal government could allow individual states to issue more visas, above & beyond what the feds do. It would certainly make the rich states richer as California, Massachusetts etc. let in more smart immigrants and Arkansas obviously doesn't- but could be a viable path too, use lots of federalism arguments, etc.
“In economic terms, though, the number of new people arriving legally is what counts, so the fact that fewer than 100 percent of the new immigrants are actually new arrivals somewhat reduces the economic benefits of recapture.” Some of the nonimmigrants in H or L status will eventually get tired of waiting for a green card and move to another country, or get an H/L extension application rejected and be forced to leave. So the economic impact might be a little bigger than implied by the “new arrivals” figure.
Saw this headline and for a brief moment thought you were going to talk about the anticompetitive credit card oligopoly we have in the US.
I can’t help but think that the positive wage and benefit changes resulting from the labor shortage are at least partly the result of the fall in immigration.
If you move someone from an H1B to LPR (green card), you’ve freed up an H1B for a new arrival, right? So it’s still an increase in new arrivals being facilitated, up to the total recapture, some just happen later and in another category?
They could pass this through reconciliation if they wanted to but that’s true of all things. Increasing the application fees comes across as a bad idea. The fees for this are already exorbitant. How about simplifying the process so you don’t need lawyers and then increase the fees?
Some people are seeing free migration with Canada and suggesting it with the EU rather than say Latin America.
The EU may be more controversial given that it could result in an influx of non-English speakers, one of the major immigration complaints during Brexit and since was Polish speakers who didn't speak English in class and elsewhere (there are nearly as many Poles in the UK after one decade of immigration as Indians just to give you an idea of the size of the diaspora). A government controversy over scrapping polish language exams in 2018 courted controversy. One of the major requirements in polls for immigration to be popular is use of English by new immigrants. People tend to forget that per capita income in Eastern Europe is bellow 20,000k in a lot of places. Why extend it to Eastern Europe and not say Mexico and Colombia? Panama is the most obvious case for a non-semi-anglophone state for a free migration pact given its strategic importance.
Meanwhile nobody mentions the Anglophone Caribbean nations are basically states/protectorates of the USA. I think each of them have some diaspora equal to at least 1/10 (and up to 150%) of their population in the USA already. Even the largest nation Jamaica has some 2 million people of Jamaican descent in the USA. So a free migration pact there would involve mostly English speakers with family already in the USA (largely in New York and Florida). You could go further here and give a Compact of Free Association rights in exchange for fiscal rules (the Caribbean countries reliance on commodities and tourism has led to unstable government finances outside the Bahamas, the richest country in the region).
Another one would be to extend CFA's to the South Pacific given that regions strategic importance.
Combined the Anglophone Caribbean has some 6 million people, while the South Pacific nations the USA does not have a CFA with and isn't Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea add up to 2 (mainly in Fiji), so splitting that with Australia and New Zealand should not be ultra controversial.
Great article & agreed with all - American STEM degrees should come with a Green Card stapled to them (provisional, if you like; in that case, keep it if you have job over some salary 3-5 years out). Also, foreign STEM grads are fine, but sadly vary in quality, and we need doctors, nurses, and teachers, too. Reduce chain immigration in favor of more H1Bs (but curb gaming by the outsourcers), and really need new temp worker programs at scale so Mexicans, etc. can come & go as they like for work, seasonal, etc. Also take educated Latin Americans, similar to open Canadian border, basically simple NAFTA-like visa or something, but we need way more professional-level Latinos in the USA, especially here in Silicon Valley, also NYC, Seattle, Chicago, etc.
The idea of letting Canadians apply for work in the US is a good one. We could probably expand that out to include the EU/UK/EFTA countries/Australia/NZ pretty easily. That's some low hanging immigration fruit that -Borjas aside- even people opposed to immigration should be willing to accept.
>>>The hope is that this should qualify for reconciliation under parliamentary rules<<<
And my hope is Schumer fires any parliamentarian who doesn't play ball on anything the majority wants. (Punctiliousness in the defense of fake rules that are both anti-democratic and harmful to the creation of policy isn't something to be admired).
Also, someone recently (I think in NY Times) had a piece the other day about Canada's province-driven immigration system, and how it should be adopted by the US. Big agree! Makes a lot of sense. If Alabama doesn't want many immigrants and Washington State does, NO PROBLEM!